Spring 2003

The NSWTF decision was adopted at that State Council which consists about 300 delegates on Saturday Feb 15, 2003


The NSW Teachers Federation is opposed to war on Iraq.

An attack on Iraq will cause widespread death and destruction, increase insecurity and poverty in the world and threaten a wider conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere, including the South-East Asian region. The Iraqi Government headed by Saddam Hussein stands condemned as an authoritarian regime, which has a shocking record of abuses of human rights, including the execution of trade union leaders and political opponents. Despite the profound repugnance of the regime, attacking Iraq to achieve "regime-change" is not only illegal but is likely to be counter-productive and lead to the strengthening of the repressive apparatus of Iraqi government. Joining an attack simply because the US wants Australian support is inadequate justification and has led to tragedy in the past.

There is insufficient evidence to justify a military attack against Iraq. At present the weapons inspectors have not discovered weapons of mass destruction and no link has been established between the Iraqi regime and the terrorist groups.

Recourse to war is never justified before all non-violent solutions have been pursued. History is replete with examples of politicians committing others to certain death, trauma and injury in war. The process of UN inspections and the operation of the United Nations as an effective organisation should not be undermined by US bullying. Neither should an Australian decision be pre-empted by a manipulated crisis created by the presence of huge US and British forces in the Gulf.

The NSW Teachers Federation supports the international disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction and believes the United Nations is the most appropriate and capable institution for achieving these ends. In the case of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, we believe the United Nations and its weapons inspectors must be given more time and support to resolve the process of disarmament peacefully.

In view of US, British and Australian attempts to pre-empt and unduly influence UN processes, the Australian vessels currently enforcing the blockade on Iraq should be withdrawn immediately so as to avoid any implication that Australian forces are in any way involved in a manipulated pre-emptive strike. The Pine Gap spy-base which is Australia> '> s greatest military contribution to war, should be closed. A similar position should apply to Australian elements serving in US and British units. The blockade continues to inflict misery on innocent people in Iraq and so should be lifted immediately. Further, the bombing within the "no-fly" zones must cease.

The Australian Education Union is asked to develop support for its Annual Conference resolution on this issue from teacher unions around the world with a view to having a firm and clear anti-war message delivered to Governments and the United Nations from the international teacher community. The NSW Teachers Federation expresses solidarity with the British and American trade unionists who are opposing a war on Iraq.

The NSW Teachers Federation commends those Australian political parties and individuals who have unequivocally opposed an attack on Iraq, including the Greens and Democrats and many ALP figures.

The NSW Teachers Federation endorses the call of the ACTU for the rights of all to work and live in an environment free of harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, religion or culture and to work to increase the understanding of the international situation amongst its members.

The NSW Teachers Federation will participate in and work to build the widest coalition of anti-war forces ever seen in Australian society. Such that the rush to war in Iraq by the Coalition Government will be rejected overwhelmingly by the Australian community and will mark the Coalition forever as unfit to govern Australia and lead to its removal at the next Federal election. The Federation will continue to support anti-war action, including rallies and the Labor Council proposal for all union workplaces to call meetings to declare their workplace a peace site and to discuss continuing involvement in the campaign.

If the Howard Government commits Australia to an unjustified war, the NSW Teachers Federation urges the people of Australia not to support or co-operate with the war effort in any way.

That relevant sections of the General Secretary's report to February Council, the Labor Council's resolution and speech in moving the recommendation on this matter be put into the next journal to make it clear to all members that opposing war is the job of this union. The NSWTF has a proud history of activism and the activism on issues that impact on children anywhere in the world will continue and that world peace is the work of teachers.

NSW Teachers Federation produce and distribute to all public schools a poster similar to the Public Education posters stating our, the public education teachers of NSW opposition to war. A simple statement of NO WAR incorporating the NSWTF logo will highlight our commitment to support a peaceful solution to the human right abuses in Iraq.

Spring 2003

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Lesson Plans and Teaching Ideas

Suggested Readings for Teachers and Students

Background Documents and Related Materials

Maps and Geography Activities

Resources for Teachers

Links About the War

Teacher Groups Against the War

Teacher Resolutions Against the War